India head coach Rahul Dravid said that his conversation with Wriddhiman Saha regarding the latter’s future in India’s Test squad, came from a place of respect for the veteran wicketkeeper and that he wanted to ensure there was honesty and clarity in his communication.

Senior batters Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara, senior wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha, and experienced pacer Ishant Sharma were left out of the Tests as the All India senior selection committee named squads for the Sri Lanka series.

Read more: India’s Test and T20I squads for Sri Lanka series

Saha on Saturday revealed that the team management headed by head coach Dravid had told him that it was unlikely he would be considered for the longest format going forward.

Dravid, after India’s 3-0 series win against West Indies on Sunday in Kolkata, was asked about the fact Saha had mentioned in an interview details of a private conversation. The question was whether Dravid felt hurt that details of that chat, where Saha spoke about the coach asking him to rethink about his cricketing career, in the words of the journalist, are now in the public domain.

Here’s what Dravid had to say:

Thanks for congratulating us on winning the T20I series. (laughs)

No, I’m actually not hurt at all. I have a deep respect for Wriddhiman Saha and his achievements, contributions to Indian cricket. My conversation with him came from that place. He deserved honesty and clarity. I didn’t want him to hear about it, you know, from the media.These are conversations I constantly have with players. I’m not hurt about it at all because I don’t expect players to always like the messages or agree with everything I have to say about them. Sometimes you have difficult conversations with players. 

But that doesn’t mean you brush it under the carpet and don’t have the conversations, right? I truly believe in having those conversations before every XI is picked. Even now, either me or Rohit will speak to those not playing. And we are open to answer questions to why they are not playing and what are the reasons for a particular XI that we might play. It’s natural for players at times to get upset and feel hurt. I just felt my team deserved clarity and honesty, that’s all I was trying to convey.

We have only three Tests this year and with Rishabh Pant having established himself as No 1 choice, the idea was to say that we were looking to groom a younger wicketkeeper. This doesn’t change my feelings or respect for Wriddhi and his contributions. The easiest thing for me is to not have these conversations but that’s not who I am, that’s not what I am going to do. I don’t expect them to like it or like me. But I hope at some stage they will respect the fact that I was at least able to front up and have these conversations with them.”  

— via BCCI's press conference